The P-51 Mustang rose from obscurity to become the greatest long-range fighter in aviation history. Able to out fly even the best of the Axis aircraft, the Mustang decimated its enemies and drove them from the skies over Europe and Japan. But in it infancy, the Mustang flashed none of its war-winning potential. We trace the P-51s development from its origin through its re-emergence as the dominant aerial weapon of World War II.


Mustangs rapidly filled Army Air Force squadrons in both the European and Pacific theaters of operations. The first land-based fighter strikes against Tokyo on April 7, 1945, were by Iwo Jima based Mustangs. High-altitude escort duties remained the prime mission of the P-51 and it possessed a marked edge in speed and maneuverability over all piston-engine enemy fighters.

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